The solar powered plane “The Solar Impulse” just completed its first intercontinental flight, proving that solar power can be a viable power option for aircrafts in the future.
According to a Reuters report, the Solar Impulse took off at 3:22 GMT from Madrid and landed 19 hours later at Rabat International Airport in Morocco.
Just before the plane landed, co-founder of the project Andre Borschberg said, “The aircraft can now fly day and night. It’s quite a show…it’s a technology we can trust.” The pilot of the plane was Bertrand Piccard.
As soon as The Solar Impulse touched down in Morocco, Piccard was received by Borschberg and Mustafa Bakkoury, the head of Morocco’s solar energy agency.
This project has been in the works for nearly a decade and has cost $112 million. Beginning in 2003, Borschberg got engineers from Swiss elevator maker Schindler and research from a Belgian chemical group Solvay. The plane has over 12,000 solar cells and flies at an average speed of 44 mph.
The flight was also significant because the developers want to take it on a world tour starting next year. The plane has already undergone several record-breaking flights after its debut in 2010, including a 26-hour flight and a 13-hour flight from Payern, Switzerland to Brussels.